Shakespeare Who? – Carlo Pagetti – Stratagemmi 24/25
Shakespeare’s plays, plots, adaptations permeate contemporary mass culture in such a way that Shakespeare himself is perceived as a universal brand generating a wide range of cultural products in the fields of literature, films and TV series.
The Bard is given new life as the author of forged plays such as Vortigern (concocted by William-Henry Ireland the end of the 18th century), as an ‘anonymous’ artist whose identity was stolen by a third-rate actor, as an Elizabethan playwright saved by the TV hero Doctor Who travelling in time. Morphed into the patterns of formulaic narratives (SF, fantasy, thrillers), Shakespeare’s language celebrates its extraordinary powers of adaptation, and, at the same time, claims the authority of unique source of human dramas and dreams. Once the spokesman of Englishness, a commodity to be exported everywhere – as it happened in the ’70 and ’80s BBC TV series devoted to his plays – in the 2012 London Globe to Globe festival Shakespeare was translated into almost all the languages of the world and adapted by companies performing world-wide. Even extraterrestrial creatures admire and interpret the Bard, as we can see in the vast Star Trek universe, inhabited also by the cruel, warlike (but Shakespeare-loving) Klingons.